Finland proposes non-transferable parental leave

Finland’s Minister of Labour, Tarja Cronberg, put forward a plan for non-transferable parental leave last week, according to the Finnish News Agency STT.

The proposal was made at an International Women’s Day event in Lieksa. “Such a scheme would divide the costs of parenthood more evenly between employers as it would encourage more fathers opt for paternity leave,” Ms Cronberg said.

According to Ms Cronberg, women, particularly younger women, are frequently given temporary contracts rather than full time work, because employers do not want to be responsible for paying the costs associated with maternity leave.

“As far as women’s poorer pensions are concerned,” she continued, “the root cause is that they have raised young children at home, cared for dependents and worked chronically in fixed-term jobs.”

Ms Cronberg says that similar schemes have worked elsewhere. In Iceland, for instance, the model has led to a situation in which 80 percent of fathers use their parental leave”, she said.

One of the challenges facing such a proposal, according to Ms Cronberg, is that the trade union movement in Finland is dominated by men.

In her speech, Ms Cronberg also discussed wage equality and the recent pay dispute in the nursing profession.